Wedding Woes

Taking photos in the same location as the cocktail hour... help

My fiancé and I are trying to plan our wedding day timeline.

We are getting married in a church and the cocktail hour and reception will be in an Irish Pub/Reception hall about 10 minutes away from the church. We are planning to do our wedding party photos and our individual bride and groom photos in the pub because it is absolutely beautiful and is honestly why we chose the venue. However, this poses a slight problem because we wouldn't be able to start cocktail hour while we were doing pictures because they are in the same room. My opinion is also, that we want to be at cocktail hour because that is the only part of the night that will be in the pub - the reason we chose the venue.. 

Originally, neither my fiancé nor I wanted to do a first look, which would honestly solve this problem. We are very torn, because we still very much want that moment of seeing each other for the first time down the aisle. Also, I don't know if I like the idea of taking pictures before we are actually pronounced husband and wife. Maybe I'm too traditional, it's just my opinion. My family and I are used to a gap where guests, especially those from out of town, are invited to go to the bride's parents house for snacks/drinks. That way, guests have something to do during that time and they are fed. However, my fiancé and his family are not used to any gap in between other than travel time. So, we are essentially trying to figure out how it could be possible to have our ceremony, take our photos (which are extremely important to me), entertain our guests, and enjoy our cocktail hour (at least half of it) in the space we love.

If we had a one hour to an hour and a half between the end of the ceremony and cocktail hour, is that really the end of the world? Guests could spend that time checking into their hotel (which is in between the church and the hotel), potentially take a shuttle to the pub (we have to look into this option for logistics), or at any one of six bars within 6 minutes walking distance to the pub, or my parents could host guests for snacks/drinks (although it seems redundant to me to do that and then host a cocktail hour). I've read a lot of comments on the gap already and understand people's opinions that they do not like it, but I don't like the idea of us (the two of us will be paying for cocktail hour) spending thousands of dollars on a cocktail hour in a space we love that we don't get to enjoy at all. The biggest problem though, is that we will be in the pub taking pictures and cannot have cocktail hour going on around us as we try and do that. There is also an outdoor space we can potentially set up for guests with food/drinks, but it is October in Upstate NY and you cannot count on the weather... it could be snowing.

Please, I'm not looking for comments about how rude I am for considering a short gap, I'm just looking for pros/cons or potential solutions. We are trying to come together to create a solution that will make our guests, both families, and my fiancé and I happy. It seems almost impossible to do all three. Call me selfish if you want, but I want our day to be what the two of us want, because at the end of the day it will be us looking back at the photos and reminiscing about our wedding day.

Re: Taking photos in the same location as the cocktail hour... help

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My fiancé and I are trying to plan our wedding day timeline.

    We are getting married in a church and the cocktail hour and reception will be in an Irish Pub/Reception hall about 10 minutes away from the church. We are planning to do our wedding party photos and our individual bride and groom photos in the pub because it is absolutely beautiful and is honestly why we chose the venue. However, this poses a slight problem because we wouldn't be able to start cocktail hour while we were doing pictures because they are in the same room. My opinion is also, that we want to be at cocktail hour because that is the only part of the night that will be in the pub - the reason we chose the venue.. 

    Originally, neither my fiancé nor I wanted to do a first look, which would honestly solve this problem. We are very torn, because we still very much want that moment of seeing each other for the first time down the aisle. Also, I don't know if I like the idea of taking pictures before we are actually pronounced husband and wife. Maybe I'm too traditional, it's just my opinion. My family and I are used to a gap where guests, especially those from out of town, are invited to go to the bride's parents house for snacks/drinks. That way, guests have something to do during that time and they are fed. However, my fiancé and his family are not used to any gap in between other than travel time. So, we are essentially trying to figure out how it could be possible to have our ceremony, take our photos (which are extremely important to me), entertain our guests, and enjoy our cocktail hour (at least half of it) in the space we love.

    If we had a one hour to an hour and a half between the end of the ceremony and cocktail hour, is that really the end of the world? Guests could spend that time checking into their hotel (which is in between the church and the hotel), potentially take a shuttle to the pub (we have to look into this option for logistics), or at any one of six bars within 6 minutes walking distance to the pub, or my parents could host guests for snacks/drinks (although it seems redundant to me to do that and then host a cocktail hour). I've read a lot of comments on the gap already and understand people's opinions that they do not like it, but I don't like the idea of us (the two of us will be paying for cocktail hour) spending thousands of dollars on a cocktail hour in a space we love that we don't get to enjoy at all. The biggest problem though, is that we will be in the pub taking pictures and cannot have cocktail hour going on around us as we try and do that. There is also an outdoor space we can potentially set up for guests with food/drinks, but it is October in Upstate NY and you cannot count on the weather... it could be snowing.

    Please, I'm not looking for comments about how rude I am for considering a short gap, I'm just looking for pros/cons or potential solutions. We are trying to come together to create a solution that will make our guests, both families, and my fiancé and I happy. It seems almost impossible to do all three. Call me selfish if you want, but I want our day to be what the two of us want, because at the end of the day it will be us looking back at the photos and reminiscing about our wedding day.

    No, you cannot have a gap, gaps are rude. You must completely host your guests from start to finish. If you want to be completely selfish and disregard the feelings of others, elope. Once guests are invited you need to plan with their comfort in mind. They don't need to leave and "check in to their hotel," they don't "need to freshen up." You chose this venue, now you need to accept your options. And trust me, people talking about how uncomfortable they were will far outpace the photos. You don't want people to think about how selfish you were for some pretty photos. It's not a good look. 

    Option: Have a first look. I honestly have never met anyone who has regretted this, even if they originally wanted the "walk down the aisle" experience. It has been a very special time for the couple to meet before the hubbub of the wedding ceremony and reception. 

    Option: Do partial pictures before, saving couple's photos for after the ceremony. You can take pictures with family and the WP before the ceremony. This will save time and you can quickly pose with your H after the ceremony in the pub. 

    Option: Host a cocktail hour at another bar next door while you take photos, then begin the dinner portion of the reception directly after the cocktail hour ends. This is undesirable. Asking your guests to go to 3 different locations is too much. 


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    VarunaTTshort+sassyJen4948
  • Can you take all of the pictures, except the ones where you and your FI need to be together, before the ceremony? Then you can go to cocktail hour, linger a bit while everyone is transferring to the reception venue, and do your photos after everyone has left the pub.
    short+sassy
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Can you take all of the pictures, except the ones where you and your FI need to be together, before the ceremony? Then you can go to cocktail hour, linger a bit while everyone is transferring to the reception venue, and do your photos after everyone has left the pub.
    This was what was traditionally done before first looks became so popular. Don't make your guests wait an hour and a half between the ceremony and the cocktail hour. The cocktail hour is also traditionally for when pictures are taken. You can show up for the last part of it - it is for your guests not you. Surely, you could have some photos taken at the pub. I'm sure your guests wouldn't crash your photos. 
    short+sassyOliveOilsMom
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited October 13
    I was going to suggest what @missJeanLouise said.  Right after the ceremony can you get your pub pictures in?  Those shouldnt take 1.5 hours.  You’d be surprised how fast a photographer can work and I wouldnt mind waiting 10 minutes before the bar opened if I were a guest. Then let them in for cocktail hour. If you want other pictures elsewhere, go and take them while they enjoy the bar. 

  • With an hour and a half between the wedding and the reception, I'm skipping one of them.

    As @levioosa stated, do the first look at the pub.  There are dozens of testimonials on here about how much couples appreciated doing it that way, so they could really enjoy each other's looks, have a few more private moments together before everything started, and take lovely pictures.  I'd even recommend looking at first look pictures, b/c they're usually some of my favorites of a wedding album.  It solves your issue and keeps your FI's side of the family happy.  And happier guests/family are easier on everyone.
    MNNEBrideOliveOilsMom
  • My fiancé and I are trying to plan our wedding day timeline.

    We are getting married in a church and the cocktail hour and reception will be in an Irish Pub/Reception hall about 10 minutes away from the church. We are planning to do our wedding party photos and our individual bride and groom photos in the pub because it is absolutely beautiful and is honestly why we chose the venue. However, this poses a slight problem because we wouldn't be able to start cocktail hour while we were doing pictures because they are in the same room. My opinion is also, that we want to be at cocktail hour because that is the only part of the night that will be in the pub - the reason we chose the venue.. 

    Originally, neither my fiancé nor I wanted to do a first look, which would honestly solve this problem. We are very torn, because we still very much want that moment of seeing each other for the first time down the aisle. Also, I don't know if I like the idea of taking pictures before we are actually pronounced husband and wife. Maybe I'm too traditional, it's just my opinion. My family and I are used to a gap where guests, especially those from out of town, are invited to go to the bride's parents house for snacks/drinks. That way, guests have something to do during that time and they are fed. However, my fiancé and his family are not used to any gap in between other than travel time. So, we are essentially trying to figure out how it could be possible to have our ceremony, take our photos (which are extremely important to me), entertain our guests, and enjoy our cocktail hour (at least half of it) in the space we love.

    If we had a one hour to an hour and a half between the end of the ceremony and cocktail hour, is that really the end of the world? Guests could spend that time checking into their hotel (which is in between the church and the hotel), potentially take a shuttle to the pub (we have to look into this option for logistics), or at any one of six bars within 6 minutes walking distance to the pub, or my parents could host guests for snacks/drinks (although it seems redundant to me to do that and then host a cocktail hour). I've read a lot of comments on the gap already and understand people's opinions that they do not like it, but I don't like the idea of us (the two of us will be paying for cocktail hour) spending thousands of dollars on a cocktail hour in a space we love that we don't get to enjoy at all. The biggest problem though, is that we will be in the pub taking pictures and cannot have cocktail hour going on around us as we try and do that. There is also an outdoor space we can potentially set up for guests with food/drinks, but it is October in Upstate NY and you cannot count on the weather... it could be snowing.

    Please, I'm not looking for comments about how rude I am for considering a short gap, I'm just looking for pros/cons or potential solutions. We are trying to come together to create a solution that will make our guests, both families, and my fiancé and I happy. It seems almost impossible to do all three. Call me selfish if you want, but I want our day to be what the two of us want, because at the end of the day it will be us looking back at the photos and reminiscing about our wedding day.

    Except the bolded isn’t entirely true (unless you have no friends family/ you’re eloping); it seems like you do care and at the end of the day you don’t want to upset or hurt the people you care about. So then you don’t have a gap. 

    Like @missjeanlouise said above, take as many photos before hand then go right to cocktail hour. You can take photos in the pub even with your guests there. They don’t get in the way of the shot. 
    short+sassy
  • banana468 said:
    I'm going to be honest - because now that I have about two decades of being an adult attending weddings under my belt I can surely point out which ones I attended that were rude and which were not.   The one with the long gap where DH and I spent hours figuring out what to do?  We were annoyed.   The one where DH was in the WP and they had free drinks but I had to pay CASH for a Diet Coke?  Oh hella rude.  

    My point is that if you do things that leave a bad taste with your guests, they're going to remember it.  And especially now in the middle of pandemic one of the things that sticks out so much in all areas of media is the prevailing theme of how humans are frustrated with how we treat fellow human beings.  We have an overwhelming frustration when we see it whether it's institutionalized or whether it's by one person who is not condemned by his peers and we try to be better as a result of it. 

    Consider that when your wedding occurs it's either going to be in the middle of a pandemic most likely as we aren't seeing a vaccine anytime soon.   That also means that your guests are going to need to leave their home and show up to your ceremony and then to the reception and the number of venues that they go into is already increasing risks of exposure.  In addition to all previously stated issues related to etiquette and how it's not appropriate to ask your guests to absorb your desire for photos, consider that each new location a guest needs to go to is a location of increased risk for exposure for a deadly virus.  Right now hosts do have an obligation to mitigate that risk and one of those things you can do is reduce the gap. 

    What I'll say as someone who did not have a first look is that I wish I did.  DH and I were both fairly nervous on our wedding day.  It was also super hot and even in the air conditioned church DH was practicing deep breathing exercises.   Had we the opportunity to see each other and experience that quiet look with each other without a church full of eyes staring at us expectantly I think we would have both felt more at ease.  I see glimpses of first look photos and 13 years ago when I got married I completely shunned the concept of seeing one another before the ceremony and in hindsight I wish I didn't. 
    I agree with everything here! 

    I’m so glad we did a first look; we rarely had any time just the two of us that day besides the first look & dinner at our sweetheart table (& even then people kept coming up to us). I love our first look photos!
    banana468short+sassyMNNEBrideOliveOilsMom
  • Take your photos before. You’re creating all these problems yourself. Do your photos first and you and your guests can enjoy cocktail hour. 
    banana468levioosaOliveOilsMomMNNEBride
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited October 13
    Take as many photos as you can before the ceremony and save the rest for after the reception. Don't expect your guests to wait an hour and a half for you to do the photos while they have no place to go, nothing to do and nothing to eat or drink.

    And where would they wait during this gap?

    Speaking from personal experience, my brother and SIL had this problem on their wedding day, although in their case they didn't plan for a gap - it was a venue error. The ceremony and reception were in separate rooms, but the reception room was not ready at the end of the ceremony, and the guests had to wait in a small, stuffy, crowded anteroom some 30 or more minutes for the reception room to be opened up. That small, stuffy, crowded anteroom had no seating and no refreshments. And that was unplanned for. 
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    The only thing that I can see that would allow you to have the pictures without a First Look (though I think this is what you SHOULD do!), is to have a limo waiting for you, FI, WP and parents (if you are including them in these photos).  As you all process out, get directly in that limo and go right to the reception venue.  You will be surprised at how fast your photographer will be able to work.  Make sure they know the plan and will be ready to go quickly as well!

    Your guests will mill out of the church, maybe even stop to chat with each other and then go to the venue.  Even guests who leave directly after the wedding for the reception venue, will need to walk to their car, drive to the reception location, park again and then enter reception venue.  You may have a few guests who will be there during the pictures, but that will be fine.

    As more guests enter, the pictures should be finishing up and if needed, you can move to a different location at the venue to finish them up.

    Lastly, if you need any additional pics, you can do them during the reception.  My friend who had a First Look ran out of time for the family pics, so the family left during the reception and quickly took the pics.  

    It will not take 1 1/2 hours to get your pictures taken!  Get as many as possible done before - B and BMs, G and GM, B/MOB/FOB, G/MOG/FOG, etc.
    short+sassycharlotte989875
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    No, you can't have a gap just so you can get pictures after your ceremony. That's incredibly rude to your guests. Take you pictures at the venue before the ceremony. 

  • Your only polite options are to have the pictures beforehand, minus the ones where you are together; to do the first look thing and have them all taken; or to do them after the ceremony and show up later for the reception. The third option will accommodate your wish to have the aisle be your first look, as well as your guests' needs.

  • edited October 22
    Well, didn't realize the gap was such an issue, as I've been to so many weddings with them.

    So happy that there are so many experienced people to tell us what is acceptable and not acceptable. 
  • ei34ei34 member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    There's absolutely nothing rude at all about your post. You don't have anything to excuse yourself for  :)

    I've been to several different weddings, all with a gap. I liked it because it gave me a chance to go back to the hotel, freshen up, charge my phone etc. Everyone will have different opinions. You can't make everyone happy. 


    But you can try.  Gaps are rude OP!
    short+sassybanana468MissKittyDanger
  • There's absolutely nothing rude at all about your post. You don't have anything to excuse yourself for  :)

    I've been to several different weddings, all with a gap. I liked it because it gave me a chance to go back to the hotel, freshen up, charge my phone etc. Everyone will have different opinions. You can't make everyone happy. 

    Go for the photos in the pub, small gap (hour or hour and a half) then have some time to enjoy the cocktail hour at the pub that you love. You might regret it if you don't. I don't think the gap is a big deal- it's at literally almost every wedding. I've also never ever heard anyone say anything negative about a gap. 

    Also, how upstate NY will you be? If it's the Hudson Valley area, you probably won't get snow.

    Good luck!
    @knottie65d879139acae826 you may have been to several weddings with gaps and you may have even found things to do during them.

    However what you have done during them does not mean that the gap itself wasn't inherently rude.   And what you're doing is advising the OP that what she is planning to do is acceptable when it actually isn't. 

    In addition please read the logistical issues outlined above.  This has far more issues now during a pandemic. 
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    There's absolutely nothing rude at all about your post. You don't have anything to excuse yourself for  :)

    I've been to several different weddings, all with a gap. I liked it because it gave me a chance to go back to the hotel, freshen up, charge my phone etc. Everyone will have different opinions. You can't make everyone happy. 

    Go for the photos in the pub, small gap (hour or hour and a half) then have some time to enjoy the cocktail hour at the pub that you love. You might regret it if you don't. I don't think the gap is a big deal- it's at literally almost every wedding. I've also never ever heard anyone say anything negative about a gap. 

    Also, how upstate NY will you be? If it's the Hudson Valley area, you probably won't get snow.

    Good luck!
    No one said her post was rude, but leaving a gap would be quite rude. This isn't a matter of making everyone happy or personal opinion. It's rude to leave a gap. 

    I've been to one wedding with a gap. Everyone was annoyed and complaining, and took your advice and went to the pub. When we got the the reception, everyone who'd been waiting around at the pub had now been drinking two hours on an empty stomach, but were no less annoyed. So that wasn't cute. It's a shame that your friends have done this to you so frequently that you see it as normal. 
    short+sassy
  • When you have a board full of people who have told you "No" and refused to validate you...and one person told you yes and validated you....it's probably better to go with the majority vote in this particular situation.
    ILoveBeachMusicMissKittyDanger
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